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Broken Bread and Wine Outpoured

These thoughts are ‘raw’ and unprocessed - and as I begin to write I’m not entirely sure where they’ll take us… They began to come to me during the night and still feel incomplete.

Last evening we were invited to a meal by a friend, together with several other friends. The food was delicious, and the company more so. Some of us have known each other for a lot more years than we care to remember, though we’ve seen too little of each other during the years of the pandemic. It was good to catch up. As well as that though, I think I learnt spiritual lessons - or, at the very least, was reminded of things I had known but perhaps forgotten.

Holy Communion, the Eucharist, Mass - call it what you will - is a rather formal church ritual. In many churches it can only be performed by an ‘ordained priest’, and it is hedged around with many rules and regulations to keep it ‘pure’ and ‘holy’. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it hugely - there’s something very powerful about the ritual, and the form of words used. And there’s something powerful about it being essentially the same, wherever you are and whatever interpretation you place upon the words and symbols. In my case, the examples I think of are a small baptist church in Carnoustie, Angus; my own church in Lancaster; the sumptuous surroundings of the Roman Catholic church in the monastery in Rome at which we sometimes stay. In each of those places, although beliefs around the meaning of the ritual are quite different, somehow the same thoughts are brought to mind, and the same mental picture is painted. It’s very special, however it’s celebrated.

Difference and Reconciliation

A couple of weeks ago, Linda and I were supposed to be in London, attending the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ‘address’ on reconciliation. Instead, because of travel disruption, we participated from the comfort of our sofa.

It was an interesting event, and his speech was interesting, funny, and poignant by turns. The Archbishop is, clearly, passionate about reconciliation, and about what we do to be reconciled to one another in the face of the many things which can divide us. He and his advisors in the church have devised a course - ‘The Difference Course’ - which is designed to make us think about how we can live alongside one another harmoniously, despite our differences. Rather than try to describe what the course is about, or try to explain its three principles, I’ll just provide you with a link to the course website (it is, by the way, well worth taking the time to do the course, whatever your beliefs, Christian or otherwise).

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/priorities/reconciliation/difference-course

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2022